A criminal trial is now underway over a man who defrauded over 100 customers with his wife through their pool installation business. The trial could take up to two weeks as more than 180 witnesses are lined up to testify against the couple. The witnesses are expected to say that the couple took tens of thousands of dollars in deposits and never completed the work they were contracted to perform.
The defendant’s legal team is expected to blame everything on his wife. In this case, it was the wife’s name on the permits. However, victims will testify that the defendant was often at their homes and the primary when it came to securing contracts.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the anatomy of a criminal fraud prosecution.
What did the defendants do?
The defendants signed contracts with customers to complete the installation of a pool and then never completed it. There is no indication that the deposit money was ever returned or the customers were reimbursed for their payments. While it is easy to think that the defendant had this planned the entire time, it is more likely that they intended to complete the work but never did. The defendant will argue that the pandemic played a factor in reducing his manpower and supply chain issues did the rest. It is also likely that the defendant spent the money he was supposed to be using for the project before the project was completed leaving them without recourse to reimburse the money.
What will the defendant claim?
The defendant will claim his wife owned 100% of the business and that he was not involved in any of the fraud that took place. Nonetheless, he is facing 12 felony charges related to the conspiracy. These include money laundering, providing false information on an application for a contractor’s license, participating in an organized scheme to defraud, and fraudulent use of personal identification information.
Thus far, a trial date has not been set for the wife who will face separate charges in a separate trial. It is unclear what her defense will be, but it should not be surprising if she blames her husband for the entire conspiracy.
Does this constitute fraud?
Yes. If the contractor could not meet the deadline agreed to in the contract, then the contractor defrauded anyone he took money from. If the issue was truly out of his hands and the work could not be completed, the contractor would have had an obligation to return the money that was given to him. Since the money was likely spent elsewhere, it was funneled out of the business and directly into their personal accounts. That’s almost certainly why the money was not refunded.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
The Skier Law Firm, P.A. represents those charged with white-collar crimes in West Palm Beach. Call our West Palm Beach criminal lawyers today to schedule an appointment and we can begin discussing your defense strategy immediately.